When does an agent become a double agent?

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Progressive beer duty, Coors brewing company

We have recently sold our hotel and retired. To acquaint ourselves with the market, we invited four agents to value the business and make their...

We have recently sold our hotel and retired. To acquaint ourselves with the market, we invited four agents to value the business and make their recommendations. The results were confusing. The first, from a well-known national company, valued it at £400K, informed us he had several corporate contacts who were looking for our sort of image and suggested £395K for a quick sale. A buyer from one such company would be in our area the following day and could make an informal viewing and perhaps an offer. The offer materialised at £350K. The next agent was from a well-known company based in the South West. He, too, had corporate contacts and suggested marketing at £415K and be prepared to accept £400K. We then met two other agents, both from national companies, who did not mention hotel or pub groups. One suggested £440K and the other £495K. As we were in no hurry we went for the latter at £495K and expected to wait at least 12 months for a sale. The asking price was offered within seven days! We have since heard that the first agent was in the process of leaving his employers and setting up a partnership specialising in obtaining business properties for hotel and pub chains. We have all heard of the agent pitching his price low to ensure a quick sale or unrealistically high to attract our business. That is why we shopped around. But having signed a contract for services in return for substantial commission plus all expenses, we expect the agent to act in our interests by selling at the best possible price. It, therefore, comes as a shock to learn that our agent's real interests lie in the development of a long-term relationship with a purchaser. After all, the purchaser, his corporate customer or contact, would not thank him for obtaining the best possible price for the property they are buying from us, the vendor, whom he will probably never see again. If an agent makes it clear in his introduction that he acts for ABC Pub Chain PLC, then we all know where we stand. If, however, he announces that he already has a number of corporate contacts looking for our kind of business, could he be saying, in no more than a whisper, that he already serves another master? PSH Barr Meethe Gate South Molton Devon EX36 4JB Envious villagers made me quit my pub' I read with relief Roger Barley's letter on envious villagers not supporting the village pub (Morning Advertiser, 18 March). I am not the only one to feel aggrieved by similar attitudes. There seems to be an axiom that the local pub is to be kept in a successful but unprofitablequiescent state, including the lowest prices, so that it can be used by a vocal, local, but non-regular clientele, at their whim and at odd times, like a quarter of an hour before closing on New Year's Eve. It is the lot of the landlord to get free management consultancy from all and particularly sundry. Sorry, it's not free, drinks are expected in exchange. I also ran a successful pub for nine years and most of the guides agreed. The partnership between the guest and host is a two-way street which involves both parties giving of themselves. The often ill-conceived, strident and insistent approach of a minority driving one way, is why I sold up! Should I sign this letter Victor Meldrew? Jonathan Hewitt Millbrook House 99 High Street Milton Abingdon Oxon OX14 4EL Progressive Beer Duty benefits will soon be lost' It was great to see you flying the flag yet again for the smaller brewers in the industry in an article in the Morning Advertiser on 8 April. Whilst we at Jennings fully support the general thrust of your article and the "message to Gordon" to give British brewers a more level playing field, I must correct the point you make on the benefits of Progressive Beer Duty, post the recent Budget. Whilst we are still seeking final clarification on the impact, we are clear that the positive benefit for a brewery of Jennings' size producing 30,000-plus barrels will be significantly below £100,000, and any benefit we do derive will be quickly lost as our production moves through the new 36,000-barrel threshold. MD Clayton Managing Director Jennings Brothers Castle Brewery Cockermouth Cumbria Brewers working hard to preserve heritage' We were highly amused by Roger Protz's article on Newcastle Brown (Morning Advertiser, 29 April) in which he accused the "global giants" of "destroying Britain's brewing heritage". After a broad swipe at S&N, Carlsberg and a small shove at Interbrew, he goes on to say that "Coors' major contribution to brewing excellence has been the relaunch of­ Castlemaine XXXX". Wrong! Castlemaine XXXX is an Interbrew brand in the UK and was previously distributed by Carlsberg-Tetley. Coors have absolutely no connection with it whatsoever. Indeed, with a brand as strong as Carling ­ the UK's favourite lager ­ why would we want to? As to "Britain's brewing heritage", all the above brewers spend considerable sums preserving brewing heritage and looking to promote the beer category to existing and potential beer drinkers. Obvious examples of our own endeavours include the considerable sums we are investing in revitalising the Coors Visitor Centre in Burton on Trent; our support for our Beer Naturally campaign with the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB) and our investment in the recently established Beer Academy. And, as you have reported, we have recently moved to increase the production of that quintessential IPA, Worthington's White Shield, in its Burton birthplace. So we haven't exactly beensitting on our hands ­ have we? Paul Hegarty External Communication Manager Coors Brewers Ltd Thanks for generosity towards the SLV I would like to say a big thank you to all members and staff of the Society of Licensed Victuallers, the Licensed Victuallers National Homes, ex-colleagues at Scottish Courage and all those friends and associates from the wholesale and allied trades who supported the Presidents Lunch at The Savoy on 14 April. A special thank you for the cards and best wishes but most importantly for the generosity which goes towards helping those in the licensed trade who are experiencing difficult times. My best wishes and good luck for the future. Paul Davies President The Society of Licensed Victuallers Ascot Berkshire

Related topics: Other operators

Property of the week

The Hazeldene Hotel

- Tenancy

The Hazeldene Hotel is opposite the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. With 11 letting rooms, it is in a prime location to offer fantastic...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more